Odde, D: Somatic (unconsciousness): in-between body/matter, affect, and imagination


Dorte Odde


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This paper is trying to understand - and theorize about - that sort of situations in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, where the client is deeply touched by a specific contact with the therapist (and vice versa) and after that: something fundamentally is changed for the client (and maybe for the analyst). The term “touched” is pointing to the experience of something being changed as if on a physical/bodily level: a quivering of existence, as if we looked at existence or psyche in the making. Unpredictability (quantum physics) and undecidability (Derrida) becomes central. And possibly it can be seen as an “act of recollection” (Levin, 1985) and as “the metaphorical structure of presence” (Brooke, 1991).

Understanding this phenomenon, the paper will focus on the in-between body, mind and emotions. What is happening is not specifically located in either of these domains, nor the result of some causal relationship amongst them, i.e. a different bodily feeling resulting in a better way of being present with the therapist and oneself (or others), but is exactly to be understood as a phenomenon taking place in-between. I suggest calling this in-between phenomenon: somatic unconsciousness – and not the somatic unconscious in order not to spatialize the phenomenon; not understanding it as a noun, but as an adjective or verb, as a way of being and being-together in the world.

C.G. Jung’s perspective on the psyche with his theory of synchronicity, psychoid processes, the subtle body and imaginatio is carving a dream space of existential depth and significance pointing to areas of in-betweens. The paper will explore these concepts of Jung’s and their relation to somatic unconsciousness, also drawing on the Marian Dunlea’s therapeutic approach: BodyDreaming (Dunlea, 2019).

Presenter Bio:

Dorte Odde, Ph.D. in Cultural Sociology, Jungian Analyst, IAAP/DSAP in private practice in Denmark and a philosophical counsellor, coach and supervisor: on the edge – conversations, relations, creativity. Founding member of the Danish Society for Socioanalysis. Independent researcher. Teaches at NTNU, Norway and The School for Pastors, Denmark. Research areas: socioanalysis, archetypal sexuality, complex living.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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